For many city dwellers, living near a freeway, railroad tracks, and a host of other “urban eyesores” has been a fact of life for as long as they and in many cases, their entire families can remember. In today’s world, this type of living has been part of city life, not only in Los Angeles County but in crowded cities in the U.S. and around the world.
For decades, city dwellers have done everything they can to move out to the suburbs or find a place to call home as far as possible from these areas as possible. However, this is beginning to look like a thing of the past as what was once considered to be among the least desirable properties due to noise, health hazards, and pollution, are rapidly becoming the hottest properties on the market.
According to Tim Barden, currently senior vice president Land Advisors Organization, which is a national land brokerage firm, Land is so scarce that the properties that are available for residential development tend to be those fringe properties. We generally see multiple offers on all of our listings.”
In real estate language, this movement towards buying homes in inner city areas is often referred to as “infill residential development.” The process involves developers coming in and buying up the land, demolishing whatever happens to be on it and renovating the soil by removing any contaminants (something that is very common in former industrial properties).
Churches, old building, former factories, trash-filled lots, bowling alleys, parking lots, nothing is overloooked as they are all demolished and cleaned up to make way for new housing developments. What might surprise you, is that developers are snapping up these properties even when they have not yet been rezoned for residential construction. Those that are located in an area that is already zoned as residential are typically the first to go, especially when they are within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and numerous other urban conveniences.
Why People want to Live There
Senior vice president of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, John Kahn, has this to say, ” You tend to see this in big metros that have a lot of desirability because of jobs, because of lifestyle. People want to live there.” Kahn is currently advising many builders that infill development is the wave of the future and represents an excellent investment opportunity.
In cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, where land has long been considered scarce, property developers are finding it possible to develop practically any land that is near the city. Once developed, they say finding buyers is not a problem, in fact, many have long lists of prospective buyers to choose from.
Although many of those buying these properties admit they are not sure they really want to live near a highway or on the site of a former factory, those who make this choice believe the ready accessibility to public transportation and amenities is worth the trade-off. Scott Laurie, CEO of Olson Homes has this to say, ” Is it for everybody? Absolutely not. But it’s for the majority and it’s for the millennial buyer who understands the trade-offs.